By Marina Iacovou (Dietitian and PhD Candidate)
Ever find yourself stuck for ideas when catering for a crowd or wondering how to get the kids to eat a variety of foods? Choosing a suitable meal can be particularly difficult when you also need to consider other people’s dietary needs, which might be influenced by:
- Likes and dislikes
- Food intolerances
- Food allergies
- Re-introduction/re-challenge of food (eg, FODMAP re-introduction phase)
- Vegetarians / Vegans / Pescatarians
My best advice is to keep it simple and prepare meals that enable your guests to serve themselves from a mixture of different ingredients. Doing this can help to make everyone feel included at meal times and is particularly important for kids with special dietary needs and low FODMAP’ers who are ready to start re-introducing higher FODMAP foods into their diet.
What do you need? Baked potatoes and a table full of ingredient toppings!
- Pre-heat oven to 2000C
- Wash potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel or a clean tea towel
- Pierce potatoes with a fork or a knife 2-3 times
- Place potatoes on a flat oven tray and bake with skin on
- Cooking time approximately 1hr or longer (depends on their size)
- Insert skewer to test for readiness/softness
- Once cooked, cut a cross on the top of the potato to open it up and then add your choice of toppings
- Include sweet potatoes – for those without IBS or to try during re-introduction phase
- This meal is always a winner in my house. It works wonders with the kids, extended family, friends and importantly, the IBS sufferers in our lives.
Pic 1: On the board: Freshly chopped coriander, grated mozzarella cheese, marinated olives (marinade: garlic infused olive oil, lemon and coriander seeds), cucumber, tomato, lettuce, sour cream, lactose free tzaziki, mushrooms, corn kernels, drained canned chickpeas.
Low FODMAP serving suggestion:
Pic 2: The lot! But with only a ¼ cup serve of canned chickpeas and < ½ cob of corn
Non-low FODMAP serving suggestion
Pic 3 and 4: Made by my 4 year old: Tuna, yoghurt, cheese, corn, mushroom, cucumber, lettuce
This ‘create your own’ style of meal is great for a number of reasons. It can:
- suit kids trialling the low FODMAP diet;
- encourage independent feeding and improve fine-motor skills;
- encourage kids to try new foods
- increase the chance children will eat their meal (good for fussy eaters);
- suit people re-introducing higher FODMAP foods;
- allow for family-catch up time, and
- enable parents to role-model healthy eating habits
It’s a win-win for everyone - enjoy!